Can a Humanist thrive in IT?

7.11.2019 klo 9.13

For someone not in the tech loop – Solution Architect or UX-designer as profession descriptions in job ads don’t really tell the story of what the work is about. We need to remove the obfuscating fog of strange titles, and make IT professions more accessible to young adults about to select their careers. I believe this will eventually increase diversity and improve the whole IT field.

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Some of the Prakticum students that visited Nitor to learn about usability and interaction design. What they learnt will help them with their web design projects at school.

In the US they have a tradition of Career Day in high schools. Alumni, parents and friends come to the school and present what they do and what career options you could have within their field.

In the Nordics we have guidance counselors and short internships as an introduction to working life.

Some schools might make an effort in inviting people to come and talk about what they do for a living. But we’re not really that good at presenting options or showcasing a wide variety of professions to young adults.

Personally, I never thought I’d end up in IT – I always viewed myself as a humanist. I was good with softer subjects and struggled with math during my school years.

To work in IT, the widespread rumor said, you need to be good at maths. Advanced maths even. It wasn’t something I even considered. It didn’t feel attainable for someone like me.

Instead I became a journalist, a profession where you gather and process large amounts of information only to convey it in a clear and understandable way to the readers.

I mainly worked with graphic design, and enhancing the facts, making complex information easily accessible. And then, I started working with all the digital publication channels and concept development.

And I realised that all of my journalistic skills fit in quite well in the digital world.

Today they are a huge asset now that I find myself embedded in an agile team designing complex products that will affect many people's lives. The IT world is far more creative and fun than I had anticipated – and people like me are welcomed with open arms. And it turns out that advanced math is really not needed for everyone in the world of IT.

So how do we fix this skewed picture of what we do and who can do it?

At Nitor we take every opportunity we get to show young people that the IT business is not for a select few – that there is plenty of space for people with different skill sets and backgrounds.

In September, we invited a group of third year students who study media at the upper-secondary vocational institute Prakticum to our office.

In two hours, they got an introduction to digital design and learned how their knowledge of designing for video and print can expand and become a valuable asset when designing for web pages or apps.

And at the end, they got hints and tips on what kind of University level education they could apply for to pave the way into a future within digital design.They left all excited about user research and interaction design. And perhaps some of them will choose a career in IT. At least they now know that it is an option.

I encourage all my peers in the IT sector to think of ways to raise awareness and bring a digital designer to the dream job lists, right next to a fireman, nurse, or an astronaut.

Because it is kind of cool that we get to shape the future of our digital world.

Author

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Annika Madejska wanted to become a clown or Björn Borg when she was a child. Today she is a Designer at Nitor with a passion for interaction design and user research. She loves learning new things and keeps pushing herself outside of her comfort zone. In her spare time she does historical re-enactment where she likes to focus on textile crafts and recreating pages from illuminated manuscripts.